If ever there was a reason to keep your voice down when divulging incriminating information in a public forum, this is it.
A woman travelling on the train from Bournemouth to Manchester, U.K., overheard a man bragging to his friends about cheating on his girlfriend and tweeted his story out to her more than 2,400 followers.
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Emily Shepherd, a student at Bournemouth University, took it upon herself to unmask the cheater — albeit to the best of her abilities, given that she didn’t know his last name or the name of his girlfriend.
“If anyone has a boyfriend called Ben on the Bournemouth – Manchester train right now, he’s just told his friends he’s cheating on you. Dump his a** x,” she wrote.
It has since been re-tweeted more than 27,000 times, with a lot of support being expressed for the woman being cheated on, including from Deborah Meaden, who stars on BBC Two’s Dragon’s Den.
Of course, some believe that the matter should be left to Ben and his girlfriend to sort out for themselves.
But Erica Berman, a registered psychotherapist who specializes in counselling couples, says that his public declaration, even if it was just to his friends, means he’s not entitled to privacy.
“Nowadays, if you do anything in public, you have to be aware that everyone has phones and cameras on them,” she tells Global News. “If this guy is going to talk about cheating on his girlfriend on a public train, he’s making himself vulnerable.”
She also points out that as much as social media has made infidelity easier because it opens you up to a network of people outside your usual social circle (and makes getting in touch with old flames a lot easier), it also makes it nearly impossible to keep an infidelity secret, making it something of a catch-22.
“Even if you’re in a relationship, social media makes it easy to find someone else. However, it also makes it easier to get caught if you’re cheating. Everything has a digital trail now,” she says. “I’ve had lots of clients who have caught their partner having inappropriate conversations with other people through Facebook or on their phones. If you’re going to cheat, you have to accept that there’s a good chance you’ll get caught.”
There’s also the fact that Shepherd doesn’t know Ben’s girlfriend personally, so divulging his cheating ways wouldn’t present a moral dilemma for her. As Berman points out, Shepherd would not have had to struggle with deciding between telling her friend and breaking her heart or being complicit in Ben’s secret.
“It’s just not the same question as if it were her best friend who was being cheated on.”
Ben’s identity has not been revealed nor has his girlfriend been identified, but it hasn’t been for lack of trying on the part of the Twitter public.
“It’s been crazy — I’ve received so many comments from people supporting me and you get the usual trolls trying to bring you down,” Shepherd said to the BBC. “I’ve had a few people sending me pictures saying ‘does he look like this?’, ‘what does he look like?’ but there’s no sign yet.”
© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.